Tag Archive | "email scams"

Scam Alert: The Hotel Reservation Scam

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I recently received several emails purportedly from Booking.com, a reputable reservations booking site on the Web (see email image below).  Having not booked a hotel reservation, I would normally simply delete this email.  However, I was struck by the warning that a cancellation or prepayment penalty of $195 would be billed to my credit card and tempted to click on the link provided in the email.

 

I’m glad I didn’t.  I did a little research and discovered that these emails represent a very widespread scam.  The scam can work in one of two ways – either with an email attachment or a link within the email.  In each instance, whether a phishing expedition or a Trojan attack or both, the result can be potentially devastating for users with sensitive information on their computers.

 

Malware attacks are on the rise and computer users should be on guard against them.  However, even the most security savvy among us may – in a moment of weakness – click a link or open an attachment that we will come to regret.

 

Of course, a close look at the email provides us telltale signs that this email is not legitimate.  Take a look at some of the grammar in the email like “The hotel Arriva Hotel” and “does the expiration date of the card finish until the date arrival registration.”  Also, misuse of punctuation can be indicative of malicious intent, such as the word “shouldnt” without the apostrophe and the “195$” prepayment penalty with the dollar sign following the amount (not typical of an American establishment).

 

Should you receive an email similar to the one below, or any email of which you are uncertain, do not open any attachments or click any links within the suspicious email.  You may be saving yourself from the consequences including identity theft, credit card fraud,  or costly computer repairs.

 

 

A Disturbing New Email Scam

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I have gotten quite accustomed to scams perpetrated via email.  For a number of years now, I have received notifications almost daily that I have won any number of lotteries (the Microsoft Lottery being the most frequent).  Additionally, I have been inundated by barristers (that’s lawyers to those of you unfamiliar with the nomenclature for attorneys used in merry old England) informing me that I am the sole heir of some incredibly wealthy person to whom I am either related or not related and of whom I have no knowledge.  And then there are the emails offering me seemingly lucrative opportunities working as an agent for foreign companies.  All I need do, they say, is deposit allegedly certified checks they receive in this country and wire them 90% of their value.  Or, I could pay a ridiculously large shipping charge to receive a parcel containing a large check or something else of considerable value.  Of course, if I were foolish enough to follow through on any of these seeming easy money opportunities, I would pay a price for my greed.


There’s a new email scam, however, circulating through cyberspace that will exact a price not for greed, but for altruism.  Yesterday, I received the following email:


Hi,


I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, my family and I came over here to North Wales, United Kingdom for a short vacation. unfortunately,we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed, all cash and credit card were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us. 


We’ve been to the Embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in few hours from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Well I really need your financial assistance. Please, Let me know if you can help us out? 


Am very worried at the moment!! 


Dennis 


Now, if Dennis (who is actually an area radio personality) were actually someone that was a relative or good friend, I might have been tempted to respond to this email to get more information.  As it was, however, the fact that someone with whom I corresponded but one time was purportedly reaching out to me, a virtual stranger, for assistance was my first clue that this was but another in a long litany of scams perpetrated on the Internet.  Yet, if you received this email from a good friend or a close relative, would you be tempted to help?


Apparently, someone had hijacked Dennis’ email account (the email came from Dennis’ actual hotmail address) and sent this message to everyone listed as a contact in hopes of duping one or more individuals to reply and ultimately wire money. 


The moral of this story is not to allow yourself to fall victim to this or any other Internet scam.  If you are contacted by email, instant message, or any other online communication, verify the person with whom you are communicating via another channel, and by no means ever send any money based solely on an Internet communication. 

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